(CNN) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN Sunday he disagrees with conservative commentators who have labeled Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist, but said he has better things to do than be "the speech police."
"Look. I've got a big job to do dealing with 40 Senate Republicans and trying to advance the nation's agenda, and better things to do than be the speech police over people who have their views about a very important appointment," McConnell told CNN's John King on State of The Union. "So I'm not going to get into policing everybody's speech."
The comments come two days after Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, publicly repudiated recent statements from conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich calling Obama's choice for the high court a "racist."
"I think it's terrible," Cornyn told NPR Thursday. "This is not the kind of tone any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advise and consent.”
(CNN) - Nearly seven months after Election Day, the battle between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken for a U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota heads to the state's Supreme Court.
But an eventual ruling by Minnesota's top court may not bring an end to one of the nation's longest-running election disputes in decades.
The justices on the state's highest court will hear arguments today on whether problems counting absentee ballots justify the reversal of a lower state court ruling that declared Franken, the former comedian and progressive radio talk show host, the winner by 312 votes over Coleman, the freshman senator whose term expired at the beginning of the year.
Coleman was ahead after election day on November 4, but he led Franken by just over 200 votes out of the nearly three million cast. That triggered an automatic recount. When that process was completed at the beginning of the year, it indicated that Franken led by a similar number of votes.
The Coleman camp quickly appealed that ruling to the state legal system.
Coleman wants the court to order that more than 4,000 absentee ballots that were rejected be counted.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mitt Romney, eyeing a run at the presidency in 2012, is taking another step in fleshing out his foreign policy portfolio with a Monday speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation on the topic of defense spending.
According to excerpts of the speech provided to CNN, Romney will call the Obama administration's plan to trim more than $1 billion from missile defense programs a "grave miscalculation" that will put America at risk, especially given North Korea's nuclear provocations.
Romney says that Obama should push for "comprehensive, regime-crippling sanctions" against North Korea and "immediately reverse his recent decisions and strongly support completing our ballistic missile defense system."
In the speech, entitled "The Care of Freedom," Romney will also call on the administration to increase the modernization budget by $50 billion per year and to lock in total defense budgets at no less than four percent of GDP. But the military budget has been endangered, Romney argues, by the administration's domestic spending programs.
"Over the last few months, it has passed measures that will add almost $4 trillion to the national debt in the short term and then over $3 trillion over the next ten years," Romney will say. "None of that money was spent on increasing the defense modernization budget - a failure that history will never understand or excuse."
The former Massachusetts governor is urging pro-defense members of Congress to hold firm against further cuts. He plans to say that "depleting the defense budget to fund new social programs, particularly in the face of global turmoil, would put America and Americans at risk."
"At the most fundamental level, our military might depends on the long term strength of our economy," he will say, according to the excerpts. "The President's planned budgets and multi-trillion dollar deficits, financed by a level of borrowing never before attempted by any nation, puts our whole economy in jeopardy."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - General Motors filed for bankruptcy protection early Monday, a move once viewed as unthinkable but became inevitable after years of losses and market share declines that were capped by a dramatic plunge in sales in recent months.
In the end, even $19.4 billion in federal help wasn't enough to keep the nation's largest automaker out of bankruptcy. The government will pour another $30 billion into GM to fund operations during its reorganization.
Taxpayers will end up with a 60% stake in GM, with the union, its creditors and federal and provincial governments in Canada owning the remainder of the company.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mitt Romney, disciplined politician, is quick to say he's not a presidential candidate. It's Mitt Romney's schedule that seems to be a bit off-message.
Earlier this year, he got a hero's welcome at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where more than a few attendees attendees insisted his economic credentials might have nabbed him the Oval Office if the economic crisis had hit before the Republican Party had decided on its 2008 standard-bearer.
On Friday, he was the keynote speaker at the Virginia GOP's Commonwealth Gala dinner in Richmond. Yesterday, he weighed in on his party's future on Fox News, Sunday. The former Massachusetts governor's making appearances as a key member of the National Council for a New America - the move, led by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, to re-brand the GOP. Meanwhile, Free and Strong America PAC - Romney's political action committee, dedicated to supporting conservative candidates - is helping him build the national network of party loyalists he'd need to clinch the nomination, if he decides to run again.
And today, nearly two weeks after former vice president Dick Cheney took on President Barack Obama's national security policy before a think-tank crowd in Washington, Romney is scheduled to give his own take - laid out in a speech called "The Care of Freedom" - to a Heritage Foundation audience, assessing the new administration's response on North Korea and other foreign policy challenges.
It's slated to be the latest in a string of tough critiques of President Obama - including a tough take on Supreme Court pick Sonia Sotomayor - that have made him a conservative favorite in the first months of the new administration, even as he carefully avoids the kind of incendiary attacks and media overexposure that could threaten mainstream appeal he'd need to reach the Oval Office.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama issued the following statement Friday about the latest developments in Chrysler's bankruptcy case:
“The decision by Judge Gonzalez of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to approve the Chrysler sale transaction paves the way for the new Chrysler to successfully emerge from bankruptcy as a new, stronger, more competitive company for the future. Only a month ago, this great American company’s very future was in doubt. Now, as a result of a substantial commitment by the U.S. government, and tough sacrifices from all stakeholders involved, Chrysler has a new lease on life. We said this process would be completed quickly and efficiently, and that’s exactly what has been accomplished today. Tens of thousands of American jobs will be saved as a result of this extraordinary effort.”
Related on CNNMoney.com: Judge approves sale of Chrysler assets
Editor's note: John King, CNN's chief national correspondent and "State of the Union" host, examines the news made in Sunday talk and offers up this Monday morning crib sheet on what to watch this week in politics. Please note that all quotes are from rush transcripts and are subject to change. If you'd like to receive a sneak peek of next week's news in your inbox every Sunday, you can sign up for the "Political Ticker – State of the Union Sunday Edition" at http://www.cnn.com/profile/
(CNN) - Judge Sonia Sotomayor dominated the sounds of Sunday, as you might expect on the weekend after the first African-American president announced his nomination of the first Latina woman for the nation's highest court.
The discussion helped frame the stakes and the issues for the courtesy calls Judge Sotomayor begins with key senators on Capitol Hill this week.
It's a time-honored process where both sides will pay their respects and chat politely. But it's only a warm-up for the pointed questioning that is guaranteed once the public confirmation hearings get under way.
A few noteworthy developments:
• Top Republicans made a decided effort to turn away from the "racist" label used by Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich in the early hours after President Obama announced his choice.
• Democrats and Republicans still haven't agreed to a timetable for the confirmation process.
• Republicans say they don't see, at the moment, any reason to use stalling tactics or to try a filibuster to block the nomination (not that they would have the votes, anyway). But the Senate Republican leader made a point of refusing to rule it out. Leverage, at least a little, for the negotiations still to come.
On the substance, the rhetoric was more cautious - even subdued for the most part. But a flashpoint remained a 2001 statement from Sotomayor that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hadn't lived her life." The quote is only a small part of a long and very interesting speech. Read the entire speech here.
"State of the Union" got the perspective of two of the Senate's 17 women. The show also walked through two of Sotomayor's controversial decisions. These were cases that involved the limits of affirmative action and the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
CNNMoney: GM to head into bankruptcy
General Motors, the nation's largest automaker and for decades an icon of American manufacturing, stood on the brink of a bankruptcy filing and a de facto government takeover on Monday.
NYT: G.M. to Seek Bankruptcy and a New Start
President Obama will push General Motors into bankruptcy protection on Monday, making a risky bet that by temporarily nationalizing the onetime icon of American capitalism, he can save at least a diminished automaker that is competitive.
WSJ: Potential Conflicts Abound in Government Role
Even after nine months of extraordinary government intervention, the scope and complexity of the General Motors Corp. rescue present a thicket of conflicts unlike any seen before in Washington.
Fortune: Meet the new, government-owned GM
With General Motors poised to enter Chapter 11 reorganization, the question arises: What will the bankrupt company look like and how will it be different?
NYT: Choice of Judge May Aid Obama’s Bipartisan Push
Early reviews of Barack Obama’s presidency — including his own — agree that he has found more success in altering policy than in transforming the capital’s acrimonious culture.
CNN: McConnell: Better things to do than play 'speech police'
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN Sunday he disagrees with conservative commentators who have labeled Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist, but said he has better things to do than be "the speech police."
CNN: Sunday Roundup: GOP lawmakers say filibuster unlikely
Leading Senate Republicans indicated Sunday that a filibuster of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is unlikely, though they also promised not to shy away from what they characterized as a troubling judicial record.
Washington Post: In GOP, Sotomayor's Résumé Takes a Back Seat to Her Words
Republican senators voiced skepticism yesterday about President Obama's choice for the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, but avoided the name-calling that has come from some conservative activists, notably former House speaker Newt Gingrich and radio host Rush Limbaugh, who have labeled Sotomayor a "racist."